Top Ten

October 12, 2017

Student-led organization grades Canada’s universities sexual assault policies

A cross-country student group has given Canada's university sexual assault policies mixed grades for their ability to deal with campus-based sexual violence. The group Our Turn analyzed more than a dozen provincially mandated sexual assault policies across the country and found “a real gap,” according to organization chair Caitlin Salvino, who adds that “there are really no guidelines in Canada as to what should and shouldn't be in sexual violence policies.” Salvino, along with colleagues Kelsey Gilchrist and Jade Cooligan Pang, read more than 60 policies and spoke with dozens of survivors, students, and experts to identify at least 45 qualities of good policies. They ultimately graded 14 sexual violence policies based on whether they included those qualities, and these policies received an average grade of C-. CBC

CAUT report claims that UCalgary violated academic freedom in creation of Enbridge Centre

The Canadian Association of University Professionals has issued a report claiming that the University of Calgary compromised academic freedom and put the interests of a corporate sponsor ahead of its faculty in the creation of the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability. The CAUT report  specifically claims that former UCalgary professor Joe Arvai saw his academic freedom infringed upon, and that UCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon had a “clear appearance of a conflict of interest” when she sat on the board of directors of an Enbridge subsidiary while involving herself in discussions about the research centre. The university has responded that it stands by the findings of the McMahon report, an independent review of the matters connected to the Enbridge Centre which found no breaches of university policies or procedures in the institution’s relationship with Enbridge. CAUTCBC | Medicine Hat News 

Student mental health needs growing, say ON colleges

Ontario’s colleges say that students’ mental health needs are growing year over year without an accompanying growth in funding. Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin notes that a recent report by Deloitte “is highlighting that we are seeing the acceleration of these challenges beyond what we might have expected to see.” Franklin adds that colleges are looking for more funds, new pilot projects, and partnerships with the government and community agencies to better co-ordinate services. The Deloitte report notes that half a million students attend colleges in the province, and that “over time, this student population has become increasingly populated by non-traditional students at risk of not completing post-secondary education.” Toronto Star

USask architecture school launch hindered by funding concerns

A committee at the University of Saskatchewan says that it cannot approve a planned school of architecture at the institution until sufficient funding has been secured. “Concerns were raised about resourcing for the proposed programs, particularly given the financial situation the U of S finds itself in currently,” the Academic Programs Committee said in a report to the university’s 116-member council, which oversees academic issues. The planned school would offer two degrees, a bachelor of design in architecture and a master of architecture. It would  reportedly have 11 faculty members and cost roughly $3M per year to run, in addition to significant startup costs. Program Director Colin Ripley, however, says that he is “generally optimistic” that the project will move forward. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Laurentian, faculty ratify new agreement

After a brief strike, full-time and sessional professors at Laurentian University have ratified a new agreement with the institution. The labour dispute ended late last week after the Laurentian University Faculty Association and the university reached a new three-year agreement. Professors ratified the deal on Friday, while the board of governors unanimously approved it on Tuesday. Laurentian Interim President Pierre Zundel notes that the two main sticking points in the negotiations centred on pensions and workload, both of which were areas where the school and faculty were ultimately able to find common ground. CBC

BC students allege overcharging, fraud by international recruiters

Some British Columbia PSE students have alleged that loosely regulated overseas recruiters extorted them or their families in order to make a commission on bringing them to a Canadian university. As part of a special series for the Vancouver Sun, Langara College students Bala Yogesh and Stuart Neatby report that the industry of third-party recruiting agents contracted by colleges and universities is largely unregulated by the federal or BC governments, and that codes of ethical conduct are often voluntary in nature. A 2016 study found that agents accounted for as much as 41% of international enrolments in Canada. The authors report that at present, the only province that regulates the use of international recruiting agents is Manitoba. Vancouver Sun

OCADU gets $1M from Ottawa to modernize historic building

OCAD University has received $1M from the federal government to refurbish a historic building on its property in downtown Toronto. MP Adam Vaughan said that the money will be used to modernize the George Reid House, the original 1921 campus building of the school, formerly known as Ontario College of Art. Renovations of the house will begin later this week and “substantial completion” of the project is expected by the end of March 2018. The refurbishment project will reportedly cost $3M in total, and involves creating new event and meeting spaces, enhancing a space through a hallway to allow for interpretative displays, and restoring the west side portico, which will be renamed the Canada 150 Portico. CBC

Carleton, partners launch International Cybersecurity Initiative

Carleton University, along with Queen’s University (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and Cyberspark (Be’er-Sheva, Israel) have launched the 14-member Global EPIC, a new international cybersecurity initiative designed to combat growing cybersecurity challenges through collaboration. “I expect important economic benefits, such as job creation, revenue enhancement and investment,’’ says Dan Craigen, director of Carleton’s Global Cybersecurity Resource, an initiative that provides companies with the skills, resources, and linkages required to develop new cyber products and services. Carleton

FSIN, SaskPolytech partner to focus on Indigenous student success

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have signed a five-year MOU to promote the Inherent and Treaty Right to Education for First Nations students and implement the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A SaskPolytech release states that the MOU is a high-level expression of shared interests and desired outcomes, including fostering economic, cultural, and social development and increasing accessibility to PSE for Indigenous students. The release adds that the partnership will highlight strategies and activities that both organizations undertake in support of Indigenous students. SaskPolytech

TRU vice president died from accidental drug overdose, says family 

Thompson Rivers University Vice-President, Advancement Chris Seguin died last month from an accidental drug overdose, reports CBC. Seguin’s family has released a statement confirming the cause of death. Seguin was first found in a Victoria, BC hotel room on September 11th and rushed to hospital, where he passed away 11 days later. CBC reports that the family has not released any additional details about what it was that killed Seguin. CBC

NorQuest celebrates grand opening of Singhmar Centre for Learning

NorQuest College has formally opened its new campus addition, the Singhmar Centre for Learning. “As we further position ourselves as a modern and entrepreneurial organization, we will walk hand-in-hand with industry and the public sector, and be progressive and nimble in our response to what they need,” says NorQuest CEO Jodi Abbott. The centre includes features such as new student spaces, health labs, Indigenous student centre, a 1000 Women Child Care Centre, Students’ Association office, and the Edmonton Oilers Hospitality Institute. NorQuest